University of Ottawa yoga class suspended for “cultural appropriation”

This could have come from The Onion, but these days it’s hard to tell the difference with articles like this one from the Ottawa Sun. The Student Federation at the University of Ottawa, apparently infected with the same brain virus that’s sweeping through British student unions and U.S. colleges like Dartmouth, has suspended a yoga class because it’s a form of “cultural appropriation”. This may have been prompted by a complaint from the Centre for Students with Disabilities:

Staff at the Centre for Students with Disabilities believe that “while yoga is a really great idea and accessible and great for students … there are cultural issues of implication involved in the practice,” according to an email from the centre.

The centre is operated by the university’s Student Federation, which first approached Scharf seven years ago about offering yoga instruction to students both with and without disabilities.

The centre goes on to say, “Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced,” and which cultures those practices “are being taken from.”

The centre official argues since many of those cultures “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy … we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practising yoga.”

Well, all I know of yoga classes is that the ones my friends take are given as a form of exercise and stretching that originated in Asia. I have never heard of any class even remotely resembling “cultural appropriation.” If it is, then going out for an Indian meal, something I love to do, is also “cultural appropriation.” (In fact it is seen by some people as that—an issue I’ll discuss tomorrow.) At any rate, it is not “cultural appropriation” to adopt some practices or eating habits that you admire from other cultures; and those who promote diversity don’t realize that by doing stuff like banning yoga classes, or criticizing our penchant for ethnic food (see tomorrow’s post!), they’re actually suppressing diversity.

It gets even worse: they tried to fix the issue by renaming “yoga”!:

Ahimakin said the student federation put the yoga session on hiatus while they consult with students “to make it better, more accessible and more inclusive to certain groups of people that feel left out in yoga-like spaces. … We are trying to have those sessions done in a way in which students are aware of where the spiritual and cultural aspects come from, so that these sessions are done in a respectful manner.”

Scharf [the yoga instructor] offered a compromise, suggesting she change the name from yoga to “mindful stretching,” since that would reflect the content of the program and would “literally change nothing about the course.”

“I’m not pretending to be some enlightened yogi master, and the point (of the program) isn’t to educate people on the finer points of the ancient yogi scripture,” she told the Sun.

“The point is to get people to have higher physical awareness for their own physical health and enjoyment.”

According to email correspondence between Scharf and the centre, student leaders debated rebranding the program, but stumbled over how the French translation for “mindful stretching” would appear on a promotional poster, and eventually decided to suspend the program.

This is absolutely insane. Apparently the “no offense” virus has spread quickly and widely, and is now in Canada.

I’ll just echo those who espouse the offense culture: “I can’t even. . . ”

storage.canoe

Jennifer Scharf, beleaguered yoga mindful stretching instructor

 

239 Comments

  1. Posted November 22, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Nina's Soap Bubble Box and commented:
    across Canada, yoga has became part of the gym experience and part of phys ed in grade and high schools

    and it was being promoted as exercise and self management to calm the fears of religion being pushed into schools via gym class

    so this is gross that yoga is being taken away because some people can’t separate the physical actions from their circle jerk in their head about what it means.

    • nightgaunt49
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Martial arts will be next. Believe it if these busy bodies are going after yoga, nothing is free from their prying and complaints. How come one can complain and is ruled for over all those who are practitioners who are fine with it?

      Bruce Lee was one of those who innovated allowing anyone to join and train in his dojo. Before him they were very specific and racist about it. (Only Japanese can learn Karate etc.)

      Why do the practitioners get ignored while one or two bone heads can complain and get compliance? Now that bothers me more. How did they get such power? And why are these schools kowtowing to them?

      • Doug
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        “Kowtowing” is a Chinese custom. You’re committing cultural appropriation by using the word. I’m offended on behalf of all one billion Chinese people in the world.

        • Cindy
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          You are so brave

          :p!

      • SA Gould
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        They’ve *already* gone after self-defense and martial arts.

      • eric
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        My preschooler’s class does a minute or two of sitting, relaxing meditation at the start of their class. One of the fundie Christian parents tried to have it altered because they claimed the “om” was ‘promoting non-Christian religion.’ The teacher was very surprised to learn this. Especially given that he, a muslim, was being accused of secretly indoctrinating the class into Buddhism. 🙂

        The other parents objected (to the one parents’ objection) and we reached a compromise. The kids get their meditation, but don’t say “om.” Instead the kids now pick a sound for the day. I especially liked one kid’s choice of “bzzzzzz.”

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          Muslims, buddhists, sikhs, hindus – they’re all the same. Foreign heathens. They’re all in league with each other. Saying ‘om’ this week, they’ll be little suicide bombers next week.

          I’ll bet they don’t even say a prayer before all the ‘om’ stuff!

          cr

  2. Randy Schenck
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing these poor people can even get out of bed in the morning.

    • EvolvedDutchie
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if they celebrate Christmas.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Only the pagan ritual form, I hope!

  3. Stephen Barnard
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m really pissed off that Asian and African businessmen and diplomats wear Western-style suits and ties. WTF???

    • tubby
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      The Chinese take out place I go to has hamburgers and French fries! Oh, the humanity!

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Jerry’s cowboy boots are a privileged urban appropriation of the authentic Western lifestyle.

        • tubby
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Is his love of cats appropriation of authentic ancient Egyptian culture? Is my black cat appropriating witch culture?

          • charitablemafioso
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:07 am | Permalink

            If that’s the case, I’m screwed.

        • Prof.Pedant
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Absolutely true. But, aside from valuing Jerry’s opinion about how he leads his life, is there a reason to care?

          [Disclosure: As far as I know I am of neither Hispanic or Japanese ancestry, but a couple of days ago I ate a teriyaki taco, and drank an India Pale Ale with it. Cultural appropriation is a popular activity, and it tastes good too!]

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:24 am | Permalink

          I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Now I’m pissed. And I’m not talking drunk, neither.

    • Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      The politically-correct-niks will say the Asians are “appropriating up”, which is totally ok.

      It’s also ok to imply that the relationship between Western culture and other cultures is just obviously higher:lower.

  4. The Clif
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    So when (for example) African musicians use the 12 note scale invented by the musicians of northern Europe, does that make all African music ‘cultural appropriation’? There are many incoherent concepts in leftish thought, but cultural appropriation is one of the silliest.

    • nightgaunt49
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      If enough people hit them over the head with all this, I think they would figure it out. Slow but better than having their heads explode, I think.

    • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:53 am | Permalink

      Nah. When People Of Color are forced to use something from White cultures, it’s because of Colonialism and White Supremacy (TM). When White People steal something from People Of Color, it’s Cultural Appropriation. Very easy and convenient, isn’t it?

      (The sad thing is that this whole view is much more racist than that of most ardent right-wing racists. Like no other culture ever wielded any power, or came up with worthwhile stuff that should be shared world-wide.)

  5. K Smith
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Like “quantum”, “energy” and “toxins”, “cultural appropriation” is a term which seems to be used incorrectly 90% of the time.

    My understanding is the “cultural appropriation” is a thing … such as wearing a Native American headdress (which has a special significance in that culture) at a fashion show. BUT IT AIN’T WEARING AN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING, EATING A CERTAIN FOOD, OR DOING AN EXERCISE.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      “Cultural appropriation” has been hijacked!

      • GBJames
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        LOL

        You made me smile on a cold and dark night.

      • Pali
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        One might even say it has been appropriated.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      I find Pocahontas costumes on sexy women quite appealing. Does that make me a bad person?

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:25 am | Permalink

        You will just have to be brave.

        /@

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:38 am | Permalink

          I wouldn’t pur-Sioux that if I were you.

          • Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:41 am | Permalink

            Maybe Huron to something there …

            /@

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:45 am | Permalink

              Something Seminole, if I do say so myself.

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:57 am | Permalink

                Don’t get too Coquille!

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:00 am | Permalink

                Why should I listen to your deCree?

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:11 am | Permalink

                Spokane like a true free-thinker.

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:22 am | Permalink

                Meh, nothing to Crow about.

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:19 am | Permalink

                Nevertheless, Yurok!

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:54 am | Permalink

                *blush* I have no idea what you’re Aleut-ing to…

                (Wow, that’s a new tribe for me!)

              • Merilee
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

                Sacre St. jacques! How did you segue into bivalves?

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

                I didn’t; but you just did! And that’s very shellfish of you …

                /@

              • merilee
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

                Is there a “Native American” tribe called Coquille, she ashks shellfishly??

              • Merilee
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

                Shoulda known you did nae make this up. Think of all the groanable puns we can continue with, sherioushly.

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

                Yes, we can just Chippewa at the list …

                /@

              • Merilee
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

                I just KNEW I coukdn’t trust you to reshtrain yourself:-)

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

                😎

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:38 am | Permalink

                Inuit. Nawat comes out.

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:41 am | Permalink

                I suppose we Ottawa-tch what we say here…

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

                “(Wow, that’s a new tribe for me!)”

                By which I meant the Yurok, not the Aleuts!

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

                Understood!

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

                There’s a town named Coquille in Oregon; pronounced “Co-keel.”

              • merilee
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

                Probably how most Muricans say Coquille.

                Are you still having WordPress issues like I am?

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

                Yes! I was even thinking of asking Jerry to take a poll, see how many of us were still unrecognized. It’s getting pretty damn old.

    • eric
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      As tit for tat goes this is a great idea. Yes, if these extreme lefties are going to call ‘cultural appropriation’ on everything, then absolutely the scientific community should point out that the woo culture is being culturally insensitive in appropriating QM, and demand they stop this offensive practice. At least some good will come out of this.

  6. rickflick
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s unbelievable. It’ just got to me the Onion. (-:

  7. John Crisp
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I demand the banning of soccer, rugby and cricket outside England (which invented them), golf (outside Scotland), tennis (outside France), karate, kung fu, tai chi, judo, taekwondo (ditto Japan, China and Korea), and of course baseball and American football (because they are boring and largely an excuse for advertising). And all forms of water sport, since they clearly appropriate an entirely alien medium and are exploitative of marine animals of all species.

    • Randy Schenck
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      I say they can have football. The only thing being appropriated there are concussions.

      • nightgaunt49
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Football is US after all.

      • Tom Snow
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        I’ve recently learned that American Football is actually catching on–or is that “being appropriated”?–in Brazil, of all places.

  8. Steven Obrebski
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    So we should stop eating Turkey, potatoes and
    corn because these are cultural appropriations from indigenous peoples from North and
    South America. Kayaks was first used by indigenous Aleut, Inuit, Yupik and possibly Ainu[3] hunters in subarctic regions of the world. Should we stop using kayaks too?? Somebody needs to tell the Student Federation people to go &%##*& themselves.

    • Steven Obrebski
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I forgot, if you are not Polish you
      can’t eat Polish Sausage.

    • Mike De Fleuriot
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:46 am | Permalink

      Seems like even the hard core Muslims suffer from this mental position.

      A clip of a clip, from MEMRITV.ORG where an Islamic Intellectual makes the case that people in England at Christmas, symbolically eat Ottoman men, in the form of roast turke

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 5:16 am | Permalink

        Please nobody tell him about Afghans.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_biscuit

        cr

        • Mike
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

          If he’s an Intellectual ,I#d love to see the stupid ones, wait, they are the ones that blow themselves up. I give up .

        • Merilee
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Oh, noes. Do I have to give my German Shepherd/Labrador retriever/Great Dane “back”? I can’t split her in thirds…

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Ah, don’t worry… us Germans have a cookie type called “Amerikaner” Americans
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_and_white_cookie

        And on behalf of all people leaving in the city of Hamburg… stop eating hamburgers!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          … and Frankfurters?

          cr

        • Merilee
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          When I lived in Florence in the late 60s you could buy animal-cracker-like cookies called Far Wests, in cowboy and Indian shapes. I tried to google them, unsuccessfully. Too much appropriation, perhaps.

          I also seem to remember Danishes ;pastry) being called Norwegians in Denmark.

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        That’s hysterical. I wonder what he’d make of Gugelhopf?

  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This is just stupid.

    I’ve just deleted three more paragraphs of comment. I decided the first sentence says it all.

    • nightgaunt49
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Tremendously so. Everyone affected should crowd and complain so much they will hopefully drop it all and stay the hell out of it.

      • SA Gould
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, what admins and other do is cave in. If you comment “inappropriately,” your comment will be deleted. (Been there, they did that.) They will insure theirs is the only voice to be heard.

    • kevin7alexander
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      “this is just stupid”
      It has to be. Someone pointed out to them that rational thought was invented in ancient Greece and they don’t want to culturally appropriate it.

  10. charitablemafioso
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Question: given the international importing of US culture, particularly pop culture, are these non-American countries guilty of cultural appropriation or is the US guilty of cultural imperialism?

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Adopting US culture is OK because that is “appropriating up.” The US adopting yoga is not cool because that is “appropriating down.”

      (See above: “since many of those cultures “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy…”)

      • Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        I promise I had not seen your comment before I made my “appropriating up” crack above!

        Great minds…

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Especially you & me. Kinda scary. 😉

  11. Filippo
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    No one except Southern Appalachian types should be allowed to make and consume sorghum molasses.

  12. Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh, dear. It’s the ‘Kids Looking for a Cause’ movement again. (Give me a break)

    Or is it that I’m just turning into an old cynic??

  13. Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Who the fuck even gives any legitimacy to all this stupidity? Just 10 years ago all this nonsense would be shrugged away in a matter of seconds.

    • kevin7alexander
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Ten years ago the whole education as consumer product where the customer is always right hadn’t gotten its stride.
      These adolescents—remember we’re talking teenagers, emotionally at least—who already know everything are only there to get a piece of paper and still haven’t wrapped their heads around the idea that they’re there to learn something.

  14. Sastra
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    The first thing I wondered about here is how this culture of cultural sensitivity to cultural appropriation would feel about American Buddhism. All religions morph into “better” understandings of God as they travel around. In the US, the tendency is to focus less on the supernatural and more on peace, acceptance, meditation, and mindfulness — “as the Buddha himself did.” American Buddhism is more secularized, more willing to consider religious aspects as mere metaphors or even false.

    So this presents a dilemma. Are we supposed to condemn these Americans for “stealing” a nonwestern belief system? Or are we supposed to stand back in respect for people’s faith, whatever it might be and whatever form it takes? Decisions, decisions.

    • Merilee
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      And of course all the Xtians have, like, totally stolen a middle east “thang.”

      • Marilee Lovit
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        What about Pastafarianism? Some serious cultural appropriation going on there.

        • Merilee
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Yup, the Italians will be up in arms – or forks.

          Too obvious to mention all of the U.S. pop culture – good and cheesey – that has been “appropriated” by the entire world.

          • charitablemafioso
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:25 am | Permalink

            Diane G. pointed out it’s okay, because they’re appropriating up. I didn’t know McDonald’s was appropriating up, but I’ll take her word for it.

  15. Lisa W.
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Maybe for yoga classes like these, the idea of cultural appropriation seems silly. However, cultures where yoga actually originated, and is a deep spiritual practice, this is a serious issue. Yoga was taken over by the western cultures and eventually used for profit. This can be clearly traced, and it is shameful.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s strange indeed that spiritual practitioners would get bent out of shape over people practicing Yoga in different countries, and in different forms – which may be more or less non-spiritual. Probably the reason this forum does not feel any shame is because spirituality has little influence here.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Are you saying that yoga for profit is shameful, or that yoga in general, except for bona fide original practitioners, is shameful?

      The “taken over” comment bothers me. Are yoga masters (or whatever they’re called) prevented from doing and preaching their yoga? Is there some kind of intellectual property rights battle going on?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I see no shame in it. People mingle, food and dress and so on gets borrowed. Even serious stuff like spiritual exercise and art gets absorbed and modified. The original is great; the modified is ok (and if that is the only way people experience it, then better to have it than not). It’s ok to make $ off of it too.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Save the Tex-Mex cuisine!

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          And Italian pizza with Canadian bacon and pineapple?? I will defend my right to have some ‘o that!

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            Oh, yes! 😀

      • Hnery Fitzgerald
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Sometimes the original is okay, the modified is great. Wonderful things can happen when one group of people gets hold of another group’s art, and misunderstands it, and the misunderstanding is better than the original.

        For instance, I think this is what happened when Sergio Leone made Westerns.

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:28 am | Permalink

          But then Leone was also appropriating Kurosawa’s _Yojimbo_ …

          /@

    • David Cameron
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      From what I understand, yoga has been vigorously exported by Indian based schools to North America and much profit has been made by the Indian schools of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram etc. As far as being a deep spiritual practice, yes, it has that as a goal, but even Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga, was a bit of a huckster, putting on sideshow demonstrations for cash. I really don’t see any evidence that Indians have a problem with North American’s doing yoga or even making a buck from it.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:03 am | Permalink

        I’m sure Bollywood would be quite happy to make a movie about it. Indians on the whole (he says generalising wildly) don’t seem to be too precious about references to their cultural traditions.

        But this – “According to email correspondence between Scharf and the centre, student leaders debated rebranding the program, but stumbled over how the French translation for “mindful stretching” would appear on a promotional poster, and eventually decided to suspend the program.” Freakin’ unbelievable. They dumped the program because they couldn’t figure how to translate an alternative name for it? Jeeesus keerist what a pack of numbskulls.

        cr

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          India is a large and populous place – as we all know – and as such has many different cultural traditions itself. I’ve even read there’s a sense in which the notion of Hinduism as currently “marketed” is itself a legacy of various unifications of parts of what is now the country and such. (Including, most notably, the UK.) Mind you, the same seems to be true of Greece, etc.

  16. jumpedupchimpanzee
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    As someone who didn’t go to university, I still don’t understand how students in universities around the world appear to have the power to ban things at their universities. They don’t own the universities, do they? What rights do they have to ban things?

    I also don’t understand how I wasn’t considered smart enough to go to university yet people who are virtually brain dead appear to be running them!

    • ploubere
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s not entirely bad that students be allowed to express their opinions on curriculum, as it can give us insights into weaknesses in it. But when the students are just wrong, as in this case, they need to be taught why, and this particular lesson shouldn’t be hard to demonstrate.

      Part of the growing deference to students is the trend of managing universities as businesses, with the students as customers, and the need to attract more. This has its roots in increasing cuts to public funding of state schools. So the circle, which starts with overly coddling liberals, eventually comes around to conservatives and libertarians who are responsible for the budget cuts.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        No issue at all with them expressing their opinions on curriculum or anything else for that matter. The problem arises when they seek to dictate to everyone else about what can/can’t be said/worn/taught/read/practiced/eaten/written etc.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. But as we see so often the loud and even crazy agitators do results. Bending to their will is in part from being a little bit afraid of them, or of the dystopic world that they warn us about.
          I remember Bill Clinton had years ago remarked on the effectiveness of the Republican party in creating doubt and discord over matters of right and wrong that should be clear as day. It was around then that government provided health care was 1st being discussed, and all of the sudden we had to convince frightened people that no, there will be no ‘death panels'(!) To paraphrase: ‘people are more easily persuaded by those who are strong but wrong, rather than by those who are weak but right‘.

    • Taz
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      This class isn’t part of the curriculum, it’s a free class offered in the student center to anyone who wants to take it.

  17. nightglare
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I’m sure all the Indian restaurant owners, chefs and waiting staff in the west will be mightily relieved when all the non-Indians stop patronising their restaurants. All that appropriation must have been difficult to bear!

    • Jay
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      There is a humorous irony, perhaps the most iconic of British automobiles, Jaguar, is owned now by an Indian company. The colony has appropriated the colonizer.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        But the Jaguar is a South American cat. More cultural appropriation!

        But then Rolls-Royce is now owned by Volkswagen (or possibly BMW). It’s complicated.

        cr

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:19 am | Permalink

          Perhaps Tata Motors will rename it “Leopard”?

          /@

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:36 am | Permalink

            Yes, I actually thought of that. There are Indian leopards.

            But somehow, ‘jaguar’ sounds more exciting, more interesting – largely, I think, due to their association in peoples’ minds with Jaguar cars. The cat and the car are inextricably intertwined. The E Type, now – a supercar which sold at an absurdly affordable price – if Jaguar had given them away free it would have been worth it to them in terms of their image.

            cr

            • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:48 am | Permalink

              A classic E-Type is one of my dream cars, should I ever be able to afford a Jay Leno or Tony Stark garage … along with a VW bus (split screen, of course).

              /@

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, my favourite, MG (see avatar), is now owned by the Chinese.

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          Even worse, the new MGs are not sports cars, only small family cars, and not even very good small family cars.

          /@

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 24, 2015 at 3:14 am | Permalink

            @Haggis: Might improve the reliability.
            (Is that a TC?)

            @Ant: That’s not new, remember the MG1100?

            Disclaimer: I’ve been a lifelong member of MG Car Club. Used to own MG Midgets and swear by (or at) them. Fun to drive, but at one time or another I think I broke every part of the transmission, as did most other owners. The half shafts were notorious.
            Then I switched to a Ford Escort, which I still use (in MGCC events). I’ve never broken anything major on it.

            cr

            • Posted November 24, 2015 at 4:23 am | Permalink

              But the MG – and Austin and Morris (and Wolseley and Riley?) – 1100 was a /good/ small family car.

              /@

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 5:04 am | Permalink

                Some things about the 1100/1300 were good and some were diabolical.

                If you were lucky you got a good one and it was almost bulletproof. If you were unlucky you got a Monday-morning one (or maybe a Friday-afternoon one) and everything broke or fell off. I had one of each (at different times).

                cr

              • Posted November 24, 2015 at 5:07 am | Permalink

                I guess my Dad was lucky then!

                /@

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted November 24, 2015 at 5:29 am | Permalink

              Ant: Sadly, yes, not a sports car in sight.

              Infinite: 1934 PA, with specially strengthened halfshafts and a forged steel crankshaft ;).

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

                If the standard halfshafts were anything like Spridget halfshafts** that’s probably just as well.

                **Strengthwise, that is, I doubt they resembled A-series halfshafts in design.

                Apologies for misidentifying it, though in my defence I think only an expert can tell all the pre-TD’s apart.

                cr

              • HaggisForBrains
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

                No apology needed; you’re right, the differences are subtle. Nice to meet a fellow MGCC member here.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

                “Nice to meet a fellow MGCC member here.”

                Even a heretic who drives a Ford… 😉

                cr

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted November 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          I had a ’65 MGB. British Racing Green. Wrecked it in college. Not a good memory.

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        I regard some reverse colonialism as a positive improvement – “curry everywhere” has drastically improved British cuisine!

  18. Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting sick of hearing about this stuff, no not sick of you posting about it, just sick of the fact of it.

  19. GBJames
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    It is remarkable that these folk are so ignorant about the nature of culture.

  20. DrBrydon
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe I had heard the term “cultural appropriation” until a couple of weeks ago. I have no reference for this story, but a friend told me about a group on a college campus that wanted to make dream catchers for cancer patients, but was told by their school’s activities committee that they could not because it was “cultural appropriation.” I challenge all cultural appropriation police to stop using Arabic numerals.

    • Rohit Kanji
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      See, that is the problem. Decimal numbers originated in India. Arabs took that knowledge and now the originators lost all credit to it. It is not that West does not care for such misappropriation. They are careful to call “Newton’s laws” or “Pythogorean theorem” ensuring credit stays with the west. Then there is the history of how Newton and Gauss vied for credit of inventing calculus. Now, we find it might have originated elsewhere but we do not care to report it. Same goes for pythogorean theorem. It is no accident that almost everything useful is credited to the west – after all they “discovered” all these cultures.

      Look at the Christmas tree. We took what we like from a pagan culture and destroyed the rest of it. No traces of its pagan origin.

      Now, Hindus or Buddhists get the same rap. We hate those non-Christian reigions and write horrible stuff about them in our text books but happy to appropriate parts we like. Unfortunately for us, the word “Yoga” has becom too popular for us to change the name or form too much.

      Search for “Christian yoga” or see Jesus in yoga poses. You can see dreatuve Western ways of appropriating and destroying other cultures are still in vogue.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        It was Newton vs. Leibniz in the fight over who invented calculus. I’ve never seen any evidence, credible or otherwise, that calculus “originated somewhere else”.

    • kevin7alexander
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      In high school art class I learned soapstone sculpture. I carved out a running angry man wearing northern native dress. The idea we were told was to show respect for another culture. A girl in my class admired what I had done and said. “You’re really good at that, you could sell those” I replied that I couldn’t since “I wasn’t Inuit”
      She thought I said “Into it” and allowed that an artist needed to be inspired.

      BTW the figure was part of a set. The other figures were a Mountie taking his children off to residential school. I was scolded and told that I was disrespecting their culture. I asked “Which culture, the Inuit or the Mountie?”
      The next day the other figures disappeared, I never found out who took them.

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        This is a particularly amusing example, since as far as I can tell, soapstone carvings *postdate* Inuit contact with European-derived folks!

        • kevin7alexander
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          We all knew that at the time but culture is what the scolds say it is. Also, the government who had ended the Inuit aboriginal way of life by collecting the scattered hunter-gatherers needed to find gainful employment for them so came up with the idea of giving them a protected industry where they could express their culture.
          One person asked “How did they carve soapstone without steel chisels and files?”
          The teacher explained that “Umm, they didn’t.”

  21. Steve Gerrard
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    What will these students do when they finish college and join the real world? How will they cope with a world where yoga is called yoga, and no one is bothered by it?

  22. jovana
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    cultural appropriation? probably not. new age religious indoctrination? likely, depending on who teaches the class; but that’s a separate issue all together.

  23. devoutbuddhist
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    omg.
    What’s next?
    Suspending algebra because it came from Persian/midEast Muslim scholars?
    Suspending geometry because it comes from Greece?
    Suspending all Jiu-Jitsu and MMA, because they come from Japan and Brazil?
    Suspending English because it comes from England?

    This necessarily spirals into madness and effeteness. There’s hardly anything we can use that doesn’t come from someplace else, nor is it even “appropriation” for us to make use of it while fully acknowledging its historical origins.

    Just because somebody else invented some idea, it’s not appropriation for us to avail ourselves of that discovery. If a discovery is true/useful/enjoyable, then the reasons why it is so can be accounted for by logic, which is universal; truth transcends culture. Damnit.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:27 am | Permalink

      “Suspending English because it comes from England?”

      I am continually outraged** by Americans claiming to speak ‘English’ and even more by their description of the true English language as ‘British English’ as if it was some subspecies or dialect. I demand that Americans – that is, U.S. citizens – refer to their language in future as ‘American’.
      (I realise that may cause conceptual problems for Canadians, Mexicans and all other countries that are located on the American continent, but that’s their problem).

      (**Well, mildly niggled, but nobody takes any notice of mild displeasure these days, so outraged it shall be.)

      cr

      • eric
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        But which English-English is the real one? There’s a you tube video where a woman rapidly goes through does 27 different UK accents. And frankly a bunch of those are significantly further away from ‘standard’ than the US’ 4-5 accents.

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Only 4-5 accents in the US? I don’t think so.

          /@

          • eric
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

            I’m sure there are more but I think its still true as a generality that US pronunciation is far more geographically uniform than the UK. The landmass of the UK (excluding Ireland) is only 60% the size of California and about 35% the size of Texas. We do not have 70 distinct accents in each area the size of Texas.

            • Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

              Fair enough … 

              … but do people in Washington state really think they speak with just the same accent as people in New Mexico (both #2 on the map)?

              /@

              • eric
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

                Yes; when considering how uniform one country is vs. the other, note that all of the 27+ dialects of the UK come from an area approximately the size of that darker orange blob in Texas labeled “6a”.

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

                PS. Sorry, this is from here.

              • eric
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

                Incidentally and OT, but here is a fun web site that allows you to compare the size of various nations and states. The link leads to a UK/Texas comparison to start with. It doesn’t even stretch as far north/south as Texas, let alone east/west.

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

                “Yes; …”

                Yes, people in Washington state do really think they speak with just the same accent as people in New Mexico?

                Well, that surprises me.

                /@

              • eric
                Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, my “yes” was a general acceptance of the map you posted, not a specific answer to your question.

                I have no idea whether a person in Washington State would think they had the same accent as someone in New Mexico or not, but what is your point? Are you implying that the US is just as linguistically diverse but we handwave over the subtle differences? Why would you post the map if you thought it was blatantly wrong? I think the gist is right; there’s far fewer distinct dialects per unit area in the US compared to the UK.

              • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

                Woah, eric! I don’t think it’s “blatantly wrong”, but I posted it merely as an anchor for discussion. I’m not claiming that you’re hand-waving over subtle – or not-so-subtle – differences; I’m just registering my surprise that there is, ostensibly, no difference over such a wide geographical range.

                But at least the map establishes that there are more than “4-5”! 😁

                /@

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            There are probably 4 or 5 in Noo Yawk alone!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          I must admit the most unintelligible native-‘English’-speaker I have ever heard was a bear-like Northumbrian. He sounded as if he had a mouthful of Yorkshire (Northumbrian?) pudding. I can’t give an example as I couldn’t understand one word.

          The second worst was a fat boy from Boston (?), who sounded as if he had a mouth full of marbles. Decades ago a lot of us got sent on a SAS course. No not the British Army’s hired killers, but Statistical Analysis System, some computer program that did something on a mainframe. The ‘course’ consisted of a series of videotapes. I can still recall “In this mojjle wrrr gnna lrrn hahta cncahnay vrrrbls”. (Translation: In this module we’re going to learn how to concatenate variables).
          The one thing I took away from this course – successfully – was don’t go near the mainframe.

          cr

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            Know what PS DS means in one Boston dialect?

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted November 24, 2015 at 3:02 am | Permalink

              Not a clue

              cr

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 3:18 am | Permalink

                Did you say it out loud?

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 4:59 am | Permalink

                Just tried. Still can’t see it.

                I expect the answer will come to me in a blinding flash some time in the next few weeks.

                cr

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

                Meh, I’ll save you the trouble: pierced ears.

                A joke told to me by a co-worker when I lived in Boston.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 25, 2015 at 1:11 am | Permalink

                I would *never* have got that!

                cr

  24. Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    No verifique si la nota original es cierta, pero sí parece que es del Onion…..

  25. Merilee
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhr
    “Issues of implication” my tush!!

    “mindful stretching”??? Think I need to go out and mindfully scarf some hot buttered naan to sooth my stomach.

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???

    • Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      i’m a normally tolerate sort but even i can’t help feeling a bit appropriated here …

      • Merilee
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        My humblest ( and most mindful) apologies – LOL

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        😃!! I bet you hear your avatar named in vain a lot in all those action movies!

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:35 am | Permalink

        Ah. (That’s ‘ah’ not ‘aargh’ even though it sounds the same).

        I’m about to appropriate a link posted by Vaal a couple of pages ago. It seems apposite:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koNwUeG-iKE

        cr

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:25 am | Permalink

          Thanks for reposting; I missed that the first time. (Sorry, Vaal!) (Aargh!!) (&c.)

          /@

    • Adam M.
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it’s real dangerous. Something… is being implied.

  26. Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    am i gonna have to rethink this year’s festivus activities?

    • Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      When they’re done, it’ll be all the rest of us have left.

  27. EvolvedDutchie
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Cultural appropriation… Seriously, who invents this stuff?

    • rickflick
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Appropriation? It’s been around for a long time. I think it came originally from Irish comedians stealing Jewish jokes (or the other way around). But wherever it originated, now it seems everybody wants to appropriate a bit of it.

    • Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      I’d love to go around campuses here, micro-cam at the ready… passing around a petition to get as many kids as possible to demand an end to all cultural approbation.

  28. Historian
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    There are certain elements on the left, fueled by the often misguided idealism of the young, who see “oppression” everywhere. Unable to do anything about real oppression, such as the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, they take action against perceived oppression in their backyard – the college campus. Being activists, they attempt to intimidate college administrators by labeling them as oppressors. In 20 years, these same people will barely understand what they had been doing. In the meantime, we can only hope that college administrators will consider legitimate grievances while standing firm against the nonsense. But, the fever will break before long and yoga will remain yoga.

    • nightgaunt49
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      There has been oppression every where and cultural appropriation too. With the culture not getting the benefit of it. However any idea can be carried too far. I would expect this from a computer, but humans manage to do it first. So don’t do the opposite and throw that baby out with the bath water.

  29. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Yoga, a common form of woo do. Some exercises can be adapted to core (abdominal, lower back, upper leg) training though.

    But if someone slapped the label “yoga” on it, or even worse started referencing the scam magic of yogis, see me exit left.

  30. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Bahahahaha! I can’t help but laugh at how foolish this all is. Again these people seem to be irony blind! By screaming “cultural appropriation!” to everything not from the culture you are in, you basically destroy multiculturalism and in Canada, multiculturalism is a big deal. So, good job leisure fascists!

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Spaceship Earth is rapidly morphing into a cluster of scattering asteroids.

  31. John Nunes
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    This is extremely dumb. It’s gone full circle in the sense where some ultra right wing christians denounce yoga as “of the devil” (or some variation) and now the so-called “left” does it in their own way. Mind boggling.

    • nightgaunt49
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      When you develop the “don’t offend anyone” mentality you get this. Impossible to offend no one. And in the end you can offend everyone if all are treated poorly.

      The Left gets blamed all of the time for it. No group does it right all of the time and the Reich Wing doesn’t hold them all. Mass blame is wrong. One must be more specific here.

  32. ploubere
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Every civilization since the beginning of humankind has appropriated useful ideas and technology from every other culture with whom they come into contact. And that’s good, which is good because there is no way to stop it.

    Do they seriously think they can ban yoga? If that is what they advocate, that puts them in alliance with conservative christians, who think that yoga is a form of devil worship. Seriously. I’ve met these people.

    • Jay
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Cultures have always taken good ideas from one another. That’s how civilization progresses.

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I believe I had a history of architecture professor who started the first day of class with “Man is an imitative animal.” Any one who’s ever studied an applied or decorative art knows that nothing springs from a vacuum. It’s all copying, dispersion, change. That’s the history of mankind.

        • Cindy
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          I am interested in fashion design, and what inspires me is the mixing of art from various cultures.

          Why not Haida + Chinese + sami

          Why the hell not? That’s what makes it fun, coming up with a unique mix of ideas. Especially stuff that is counter intuitive.

          • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            I’ve been wanting to make something out of Swiss Lace, which is widely used in Africa. I can’t figure which culture I’d be appropriating. 🙂

            Somewhere, in the boxes I haven’t opened since I moved, I have a book that’s mainly about the settlement of North America, but in the introductory chapter there’s a bit about a theory the name of which I can’t remember. It has to do with the cultural productivity that occurs when cultures mix. Until this recent obsession with “cultural appropriation” cultural mixing was seen as a good thing for that very reason.

            • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

              Ah, something like “hybrid vigour” (aka “heterosis”)?

              /@

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Man is an animal? Heresy!!!

          /@

  33. Kiwi Dave
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean that when my Chinese wife cooks a Chinese style meal I, non-Chinese, am not allowed to enjoy it as simply food? And when I cook a Chinese style meal, I should be thinking about the history of Western exploitation of China, but not thinking about China’s own internal bloody history? I need to console myself with the Camembert and Polish sausage in the fridge – oops, can’t do that.

    • Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I know! I think I am going to starve to death because there isn’t really any Kiwi cuisine, except maybe boiled Kea.

      Recipe for non kiwis:

      1 Kea
      1 Large stone
      3 litres water

      Place Kea in a billy with stone. Boil like hell. When you can stick a fork through the stone, throw away the Kea and eat the stone.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Sounds delicious!

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        When I was in New Zealand last winter people insisted on serving me venison, some of which was very good. Knowing that deer farming was a big deal, I asked whether Kiwis ate a lot of venison. The answer was no.

        • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Venison has never really been on the Kiwi radar. Deer were introduced for “sporting” purposes, and with no predators, became a pest, doing huge damage to our forests. The only people who ate venison were those who shot it themselves. Being feral, it was a it like Kea, – tough. In the 1970’s (?) we suddenly thought we could all become billionaires by selling venison to Germany. Live deer capture by helicopter, reduced the wild population significantly, but the trade never lived up to expectations. Most farmers quit the business and the supply remains fairly small.

    • Sakebomb
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      I think you are allowed to enjoy it, just don’t dare eat it with chop sticks. Hehe

    • eric
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Well the west *did* significantly contribute to Chinese culture…by forcing them to buy and sell opium via gunboat diplomacy. In order to honor this traditional contribution, you should make her do all her stir frying in poppy seed oil.

  34. Mike
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I hope that the students don’t vote on the issue and thereby misappropriate Greek democracy.

  35. Gordon
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Most student associations are run by a small clique that manages to get a small percentage of their friends organised to vote for them. Most students don’t know or care much about student politics or their in-group campaigns. I doubt very much if the majority of students support this bull****

  36. Jim H
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    It is very depressing to see this and similar silliness going on at what is supposed to be institutes of higher learning across the world. What happened to freedom and respect for others including their beliefs. Ban this and that. I get it in elementary schools where alergies are a concern but the world now is officially mad when universities tolerate this bullshit. Personal opinion off course.

  37. Jeffery
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean that college students can’t wear sandals anymore? -And dreadlocks are DEFINITELY out (not to mention, “French braids”)!

  38. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The advocates of offense culture should try mind stretching, so some of us can get back to mindful stretching.

    Meanwhile this piece is a bit mind blowing. So I guess the yoga practitioners will have to buy some soap bubble kits and engage in mindful blowing, but be sure to have soap bubbles on the poster promoting this!!

    =-=-=

    More seriously, genuinely negative cultural appropriation occurs when stuff is ripped out of its cultural context in a way that robs the original culture or falsifies it.

    In the 1930s and 40s lots of white jazz bands were playing concert tours in the South where black musical performers were banned. Clearcut cultural robbery. Similarly, blackface minstrel shows trivialized and cheapened African culture.

    An ethnic Halloween costume entitled Pocahottie or Kung Fool: yes that’s bad.

    New Age groups have promoted falsified Native American sweat lodge ceremonies, and I suppose some yoga classes may border on this.

    But eating Indian food. Seriously??

    • Adam M.
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Interesting example with the jazz bands. That’s the only example of real cultural appropriation I’ve seen. In all other cases, nothing was taken away from the originating culture, so nothing was appropriated.

  39. Posted November 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    💃

  40. Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    More of their Harrison Bergeron culture where its a race to the bottom and the biggest victim wins.

    There is “cultural appropriation” going on but its them doing it. In their race to win the victim Olympics they are trying to take real tragedies peoples have faced and make it their tragedy.

    How long before they just come out and call the “physician of color to treat physical and emotional trauma associated with issues of identity” that groups like this are demanding at Occidental, Handicapper Generals?

    It honestly would be one thing if this was just on campus but its spreading or well spread. Its on sports and gadget websites.

    • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t seen anyone bring this up so maybe I’m wrong – but isn’t hiring based on race illegal. Can they actually legally hire a black doctor because he’s black? I’ve been wondering that since I read that.

  41. Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    “..but stumbled over how the French translation for “mindful stretching”…”

    How dare they attempt to translate Anglophone concepts into French!

  42. Davide Spinello
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    The Carleton University Students Association (also in Ottawa) could not help doing something stupid as well: Students drop Shinerama fundraiser for illness targeting Caucasians. From the article:

    Students at an Ottawa university are pulling out of a Canada-wide fundraiser that provides close to $1 million a year for cystic fibrosis research and treatment, arguing that the disease “has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men” – something experts say is untrue.

    • Adam M.
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I guess they’d better stop funding their sexist breast cancer research too. I’ve heard it almost entirely affects women!

      • eric
        Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        And prostate cancer; its the disease of the oppressors!

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I know you’re joking and it’s no fun to take a joke seriously, but it can affect men.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          I’m pretty sure that’s why he threw in the “almost.” 🙂

  43. Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    What an illuminating,timely post. One of the reasons that whenever I take myself off lists to simplify my daily e-mail, this website always stays front and center. This post about extra-fussiness reconciling pluralistic sensitivities is a delight.

  44. Tom Snow
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    What about all those Greek-letter-named fraternities and sororities?

    • Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      They are 100 percent against the greek system and would love it if they where banned and torn down. Its by far their biggest enemy.

  45. Kevin
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    May downward god bless the idiots who set all of this in motion.

    Yoga? Really?

    I’m going for a walk. Oh wait, that might offend somebody.

  46. Robert Seidel
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks this might be the work of a clever agent provocateur, undermining the concept of cultural appropriation by carrying it to its ridiculous extreme?

  47. Doug
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    If the concept of “cultural appropriation” was dreamed up in the U.S., does that mean that Canadians are guilty of cultural appropriation by using the term? I’m offended.

  48. ToddP
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    This is absolutely insane.

    Yes it is.

    I’m performing some “mindful stretching” of one of my fingers in the direction of these regressive lunatics.

    • Cindy
      Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      “Insane” is ableist :p

  49. Posted November 22, 2015 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    My father and I have discussed this issue and our conclusion is we have wondered into a Monty Python sketch and we are just waiting for the Colonel to march out and put a stop to it because it is just too silly.

  50. Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that ole words like ‘uptight’ and ‘square’ will have a resurgence. What’s happening to us?! We going down the wrong path. And what will become of Yogi Bear?!

    • Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      I guess I can expect to be roundly criticized should I redecorate the house in a Mediterranean style.

  51. Golkarian
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    What’s next? Arresting Christians for Jewish appropriation?

  52. Hempenstein
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Any chance this is a Poe gone wrong?

  53. Posted November 22, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Have any of these students been to an anthropology class to learn about culture? They would have known culture is adaptive and there is nothing wrong with this at all. Maybe anthropology should be made a mandatory unit in their schools

  54. Martin Levin
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    As a Canadian, I get so angry when I see non-Canucks playing hockey that I would be inclined to take the safety catch off my revolver were I not then appropriating something American. Phew!

  55. Les
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    I bet the complainers don’t have to worry about someone appropriating anything they have created, which is nothing. They are drabby shadows on the sunshine of life.
    Most human progress in the arts and sciences comes about by building upon and combining ideas. Using something from another culture is the most sincere form of flattery.

  56. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    “more inclusive to certain groups of people that feel left out in yoga-like spaces”

    Freakin’ unbelievable.

    What the HELL is a ‘yoga-like space’?

    And while faffing around trying to include those left-out-feeling people, whoever the hell they are, they are depriving the existing yoga practitioners of their beneficial pastime.

    And may I express my extreme antipathy to those ‘deprived’ groups who feel their interests are best served by spoiling someone else’s activity. I would applaud their efforts to raise themselves up if it didn’t consist of pulling someone else down. Frequently it’s not the deprived people themselves (who, I suspect, are too busy fighting their disability to bother about political correctness) but some misguided self-appointed activist who has chosen to speak in their name.

    cr

  57. Dominic
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Oh dear – no on who is not a Scot can play bagpipes then!

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 3:51 am | Permalink

      Oh, man, that’s gonna devastate 3 or 4 people!

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 4:26 am | Permalink

        No one should play bagpipes. Full stop. (“Period.” for folks who speak American.)

        /@

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          Actually, I love bagpipes. 🙂

        • Merilee
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          “No one should play bagpipes.”
          Hear, hear – or rather NOT hear!

          • kevin7alexander
            Posted November 23, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            Galileo was taken to the torture chamber where he was “shown the instruments” and so he recanted in fear.
            Historians aren’t certain but most speculate that they were bagpipes and accordions.

            • HaggisForBrains
              Posted November 23, 2015 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

              😀

      • Posted November 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Last I checked CMU (where I did my MS) offers a full scholarship to any music student willing to take up bagpipes (in honour of Andrew Carnegie, of course). When I was there, I believe a Korean student had won it.

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          That’s priceless! 😀

  58. Art
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I belong to a zen meditation group that meets once a week at a local university. Before the virus strikes here, I am proposing to change our group description to “Just Sitting Around Doing Nothing in Particular.” I hope that saves us….

    • chris moffatt
      Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry. Zen came to America via japanese cultural imperialist missionaries – see “how the swans came to the lake”. You’re ancestors in the way were forced to become sangha-people.

  59. chris moffatt
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “…Apparently the “no offense” virus has spread quickly and widely, and is now in Canada.”

    If you dig deep enough you’ll probably find that this virus originated in Canada. These morons are the direct descendants of the morons who burned the data center when I was a CS student in Montreal. Back then the pretext was “protesting the war in Viet Nam” – a war that Canada was not involved in. Curiously they were all liberal arts students then. Their aim was then and still is simple disruption.

    I wonder how many of these idiots today are students of hard sciences or engineering? None I suspect.

  60. Cindy
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I now understand why right wingers come to “progressive” blogs and troll troll troll.

    Endless hours of fun as the ” progressives” get outraged over the smallest slights.

  61. John Taylor
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The part about the French translation is hilarious.

  62. Neil SHUBIN
    Posted November 23, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    What could be a worse example of “cultural appropriation” than a cinnamon raisin bagel??

    • Posted November 24, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      No, what would be worse (according to some) is what I used to have on bagels as a kid – sliced ham. 😉

  63. AR
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    There is definitely an appropriation aspect to the GREATER ISSUE that one needs to be respectful of. Yoga is an Indic traditional system that has been developed over 1000s of years by Yogis/Rishis with the ultimate aim of uniting one’s Atman (individual Self) with the Paramatman (Ultimate Self/Reality). As such it is a holistic system which will suffer from corruption over time if disconnected from its roots by well meaning yet inexperienced Gurus and students alike. A BMW brand for example would never allow others to corrupt their brand for various reasons – reputation, safety of users, liability, future r&d/evolution etc- very applicable to distortion of Yoga as well.
    This issue is especially sensitive to Hindus who hold Yoga not only as a physical system but more importantly as a sacred, Adhyatmik (inner science) system. As Rajiv Malhotra sums it up: “Yoga = Hindu refers to supplier, not user. Anyone can use. Some ideologies have contradictory ideologies: they must not distort yoga to fit”.
    Further food for thought: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/hindu-view-of-christian-yoga_b_778501.html
    Also for those interested in a well researched documentary on Yoga & its origins please see below:http://vishuddhifilms.com/history-of-yoga.html

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 2, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Just as Kleenex, Xerox, etc., fought losing battles against becoming generalized names for all similar brands, I think the Yoga-purism horse has left the barn; or ship has sailed, if you prefer.

      The traditional form may have to accept regular use of some adjective to distinguish it. “Traditional,” for instance. 😉 Or “Hindu,” perhaps.


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  1. […] University of Ottawa yoga class suspended for “cultural appropriation”; The Student Federation at the University of Ottawa, apparently infected with the same brain virus that’s sweeping through British student unions and U.S. colleges like Dartmouth, has suspended a yoga class because it’s a form of “cultural appropriation”. […]

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